Adult aphids feed on the underside of a currant leaf. Their feeding distorts the leaf but doesn’t hurt the plant in the long run. (Pat Munts / The Spokesman-Review)
Adult aphids feed on the underside of a currant leaf. Their feeding distorts the leaf but doesn’t hurt the plant in the long run. (Pat Munts / The Spokesman-Review)

The aphids are loving the cool weather this spring, and they are showing up on all kinds of perennials, shrubs and trees with a vengeance.

Aphids are soft-bodied sucking insects that feed on the underside of leaves. They are pear-shaped about a sixteenth to an eighth-inch long and range in color from green to brown, purple, red and black. Some are generalists while others feed on specific plants. Some are shiny while others have a waxy, cottony covering. Other characteristics include long thin legs, sucking mouth parts, long antenna, and a pair of tiny tubes that project from the bug’s posterior.

Aphids produce several generations a year. They overwinter as eggs in bark cervices and/or on roots of host plants. In the spring, the eggs hatch and are ready to produce the next generation of live young in 10 days. As the colony grows, winged aphids travel from the original…